The man and I recently undertook a challenge to go 21 days without eating grains or sugar (except in fruit form).
The initial couple of weeks were much easier than expected, perhaps because we've been trying to eat this way in general for a while. It did get tougher towards the end, particularly in the form of sugar cravings.
On the 20th day, due to poor preparation, we gave in. We had gone to an Olympics football match (2 games, 5 hours) and after a heavy breakfast, we thought we'd go the distance. Alas, the mid-match munchies got the best of us and, as you can imagine, suitable snacks were extremely elusive! Stodgy sausage roll it was (which, to my satisfaction, was unusually difficult to eat – could it be that I had succeeded in changing my taste for such?).
As you do, we decided to write off the entire day. Later on we had cake which was again, very hard to finish – it was sickly sweet to our taste buds.
As a forfeit for falling short of our 21 day goal, we added an additional 4.
Since the period ended, I've attended a baby shower, a wedding and been away on a pseudo-holiday (i.e. still working but in a very different environment: the Welsh countryside). These occasions have not been very conducive to a no-grains no-sugar diet. It's also the week of my 30th birthday – another excuse to indulge! I do worry that I'm undoing any fat adaptation that I may have acheived and one of my gifts to myself will be to get back on track starting Monday.
I need to consider what is sustainable in the long-term. In The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris, he advocates having a "cheat day" – an entire day to go crazy with the indulgences. The man and I have tried this and felt terrible (physically so!). Instead, my goal will be to allow myself ONE "offensive" item each week.
21 reasons to try going without grains and sugar
Please note that I'm not a nutritionist or medical expert – this list is based on my experiences. To explore more of the science behind this challenge, I highly recommend reading Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint or spending some time on his comprehensive blog, Mark's Daily Apple.
- No more bloating
- No more post-lunch slump
- Tighter self-control when faced with temptation (it's funny how limitations can make life easier)
- It inspires you to think more about what you put in your body and …
- … to read ingredient lists (a lot of foods have so much unnecessary crap in them)
- It encourages you to be more discriminating
- It helps to reduce feminine imbalances
- It encourages you to engage in other positive lifestyle changes (e.g. taking up more exercise, getting more sun and sleep etc.)
- It encourages you to interrogate more of what conventional wisdom dictates is healthy
- You'll likely eat better food
- You'll be forced to seek out great restaurants (e.g. ones serving quality meat)
- You'll eat out less …
- … and save money that way
- It inspires you to get more creative in the kitchen (I'll be sharing some of my new recipes soon) …
- … and bring some freshness and excitement to your culinary repertoire
- You'll drink less alcohol (choices are severely limited!)
- You'll quit being a sugar burner
- You'll lose weight (I wasn't tracking this strictly but I did lose over 1 kg, given my weight 2 weeks before starting vs my weight 2 weeks after starting. There are some success stories that are more powerful testaments to this. Check out Malika's and Dave's)
- The discipline is transferable to other goals and ambitions
- It's great to challenge yourself
- Self-love breeds more self-love
Have you ever tried to go without grains and sugar? How did it go for you?
Afri-love (@afrilove) on Twitter.